SUBSURFACE SEWAGE TREATMENT SYSTEMS STANDARDS
Adopted by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners
September 28, 1999
Amended on February 25, 2014
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SUBDIVISION 1: General Provisions
SUBDIVISION 2: Definitions
SUBDIVISION 3: Standards Adopted by Reference
SUBDIVISION 4: Jurisdiction
SUBDIVISION 5: Administration by the Health Authority
SUBDIVISION 6: Permitting
SUBDIVISION 7: Construction Inspections
SUBDIVISION 8: Existing Systems
SUBDIVISION 9: Violations
SUBDIVISION 10: Additional Standards for Health and Environmental Protection
SUBDIVISION 11: Enforcement
SUBDIVISION 12: Fees
SUBDIVISION 13: Severability
SUBDIVISION 14: Effective Date
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners does hereby adopt this Ordinance establishing county-wide standards for the regulation of Sewage Treatment Systems (ISTS) pursuant to Minn. Stat. §115.55 and Minn. Rules Chapter 7080, 7081 and 7082.
SUBDIVISION 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS.
1.1 Purpose. This ordinance is enacted to provide minimum standards for the regulation of subsurface sewage treatment systems (ISTS) including: their proper location, design and construction; their necessary modification and reconstruction; their operation, maintenance and repair for the purpose of protecting surface water and groundwater from contamination by human sewage and waterborne household and commercial wastes; the protection of the public's health and safety; and the elimination and prevention of the development of public nuisances, pursuant to the authority granted under Minn. Stat. Chapters 115 and 145A and Minnesota Rules Chapter 7080, 7081 and 7082 as amended that may pertain to sewage and wastewater treatment. All sewage generated in unsewered areas of the county shall be treated and dispersed by an approved SSTS that is sited, designed, installed, operated, and maintained in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance or by a system that has been permitted by the MPCA.
1.11 Sewage discharge to ground surface or surface water. It is unlawful for any person to construct, maintain, or use any wastewater treatment system regulated under this ordinance that results in raw or partially treated wastewater seeping to the ground surface or flowing into any surface water. Any surface discharging system must be permitted by the MPCA under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program.
1.2 Objectives. The principal objectives of this Ordinance are as follows:
1.21 The protection of Hennepin County's lakes, rivers and streams, wetlands, and groundwater essential to the promotion of public health, safety, welfare, socioeconomic growth and development of the County in perpetuity.
1.22 The regulation of proper ISTS construction, reconstruction, repair and maintenance to prevent the entry and migration of contaminants, thereby ensuring the non-degradation of surface water and groundwater.
1.23 The establishment of minimum standards for ISTS placement, design, construction, reconstruction, repair and maintenance to prevent contamination and, if contamination is discovered, the identification and control of its consequences and the abatement of its source and migration.
1.24 The appropriate utilization of privy vaults and other non-water carried ISTS.
1.25 The prevention and control of water-borne disease, lake degradation, groundwater related hazards, and public nuisance conditions through technical assistance and education, plan reviews, inspections, ISTS surveys and complaint investigation.
SUBDIVISION 2: DEFINITIONS.
2.1 "Health Authority" The Hennepin County Public Health Department and its designated agent who shall be a qualified employee or licensee.
2.2 SSTS. Subsurface Sewage Treatment System as defined in Minn. R. 7080.1100, subp. 82.
2.3 ISTS. An individual sewage treatment system as defined in Minn. R. 7080.1100, subp. 41.
2.4 MSTS. A Midsized Subsurface Sewage Treatment System as defined in Minn. R. 7081.0020, subp. 4.
2.5 "Other Establishment" Any private or public structure, other than a dwelling, that generates sewage having characteristics other than residential-type waste or has an average waste flow greater than 2,000 gallons per day and discharges to an individual sewage treatment system.
2.6 "Owner" The fee owner(s) and, if applicable, the contract-for-deed purchaser. Ownership interests shall be determined by reference to the records of Hennepin County. The owner of each lot served by an ISTS is responsible for the lawful operation and maintenance of each ISTS.
2.7 Type I system. An ISTS designed according to Minn. R. parts 7080.2200 to 7080.2240, as may be amended.
2.8 Type II system. An ISTS designed according to Minn. R. parts 7080.2250 to 7080.2290, as may be amended.
2.9 Type III system. An ISTS designed according to Minn. R. 7080.2300, as may be amended.
2.10 Type IV system. An ISTS designed according to Minn. R. 7080.2350, as may be amended.
2.11 Type V system. An ISTS designed according to Minn. R. 7080.2400, as may be amended.
SUBDIVISION 3: STANDARDS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE.
3.1 This Ordinance hereby incorporates by reference Minnesota Rules Chapter 7080 and 7081, as may be amended.
SUBDIVISION 4: JURISDICTION.
4.1 Municipalities. Municipalities in Hennepin County that administer a SSTS program by ordinance within their jurisdiction shall be at least as strict as this ordinance. Municipalities that elect to assume or abandon ISTS jurisdiction shall:
A. Provide verification to the Health Authority of its intention to assume or abandon jurisdiction of Individual Sewage Treatment Systems by submitting a resolution of the City Council or authorized governmental official to the Health Authority at least one year in advance of the first of January of any given calendar year, or with approval of the Health Authority.
B. In the event of abandonment of jurisdiction, agree to cooperate with the Health Authority in the transfer of responsibility including timely transfer of all records maintained by the municipality.
SUBDIVISION 5: ADMINISTRATION BY THE HEALTH AUTHORITY.
5.1 The Health Authority shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
- A. To review all applications for ISTS.
- B. To issue all required permits.
- C. To conduct construction inspections and to perform all necessary tests to determine its conformance with this Ordinance.
- D. To investigate complaints regarding ISTS.
- E. To perform compliance inspections and to issue Certificates of Compliance or Notices f Noncompliance where appropriate.
- F. To issue Stop Work Orders and Notices of Violation pursuant to this Ordinance.
- G. To take complaints to the Municipal or County Attorney for violations of this Ordinance.
- H. To maintain proper records for ISTS including site evaluation records, design records including calculations and summaries for all system component sizings and as-builts, complaints on noncompliance, compliance inspections, site evaluations, applications and exhibits, variance requests, issued permits, Certificates of Compliance, and enforcement proceedings.
- I. To submit annual reports to the MPCA to demonstrate enforcement of this Ordinance per Chapter 7082.0040 Subpart 5.
5.2 Neither the issuance of permits, Certificates of Compliance nor Notices of Noncompliance as requested or issued shall be construed to represent a guarantee or warranty of the system's operation or effectiveness. Such certificates signify that the system in question is or has been designed and installed in compliance or non-compliance with the provision of these standards and regulations.
SUBDIVISION 6: PERMITTING.
6.1 Required Permits. A permit from the Health Authority is required before any ISTS in Hennepin County’s jurisdiction is installed, replaced, abandoned, altered, repaired, rejuvenated or extended. Installation, replacement, alteration, repair, or extension of an ISTS shall not begin prior to the receipt of a permit from the Health Authority for each specific installation, replacement, alteration, repair or extension pursuant to this Ordinance. Such permits are not transferable as to person or place. Such permits shall expire 12 months after date of issuance. Upon request of an inspector, permits shall be provided by the permittee at the time of inspection.
6.2 Permits Not Required. Permits shall not be required for the following activities:
A. Repair or replacement of pumps, floats or other electrical devices of the pump.
B. Repair or replacement of baffles in the septic tank.
C. Installation or repair of inspection pipes and manhole covers.
D. Repair or replacement of the line from the building to the septic tank.
E. Repair or replacement of the line from the septic tank or pump chamber to the distribution box or lines.
6.3 Permit Application. All applications for an ISTS permit shall include the following information:
A. Name and address of property owner.
B. Property identification number.
C. Legal description of the property.
D. ISTS Designer name, address, telephone number and State MPCA license number; (or Health Authority qualified employee name and number).
E. ISTS Installer name, address, telephone number and MPCA license number.
F. Site evaluation report on forms approved by the Health Authority.
G. System design with full information including applicable construction information on forms approved by the Health Authority.
H. The location of at least one designated additional soil treatment area that can support system as described in Minn. R. parts 7080.2200 through 7080.2230 or site conditions described in Minn. R. 7081.0270, subps. 3 through 7, on lots created after January 23, 1996.
I. A management plan as described in Minn. R. 7082.0600 and this ordinance; and
J. Any other information requested pertinent to the process.
6.4 Operating Permit. An operating permit is required for all treatment systems installed under Minn. R. 7080.2290 (holding tanks), Minn. R. 7080.2350-2400 (Type IV & V Systems), and Minn. R. ch. 7081 (MSTS). Sewage shall not be discharged to a treatment system requiring an operating permit until the health authority certifies that the treatment system was installed in substantial conformance with the approved plans, receives the final record drawings of the SSTS, and a valid operating permit is issued to the owner.
The operating permit shall be valid for twelve months and renewed by the expiration date. The Health Authority shall review all required monitoring data submitted from the previous year and the renewal application before approving any subsequent operating permits. An operating permit shall include:
- A detailed description of the operation, maintenance, and monitoring, reporting and compliance limits and boundaries necessary to ensure both continued system performance as designed and protection of public health and the environment for the life of the system;
- A requirement that the person responsible for monitoring notify the Health Authority when monitoring plan requirements are not met;
- A disclosure of the location and condition of the additional soil treatment and dispersal system;
- A stipulation of acceptable and prohibited discharges; and
- The signatures of the system designer and owner.
6.42 Compliance monitoring.
- Performance monitoring of a SSTS shall be performed by a licensed inspection business or licensed service provider hired by the holder of the operating permit in accordance with the monitoring frequency and parameters stipulated in the permit.
- A monitoring report shall be prepared and certified by the licensed inspection business or licensed service provider. The report shall be submitted to the department on or before the compliance reporting date stipulated in the operating permit. The report shall contain a description of the maintenance and servicing activities performed since the last compliance monitoring report as described below:
a. Owner name and address;
b. Operating permit number;
c. Average daily flow since last compliance monitoring report;
d. Description of type of maintenance and date performed;
e. Description of sample taken (if required), analytical laboratory used, and results of analyses;
f. Problems noted with the system and actions proposed or taken to correct them; and
g. Name, signature, license and license number of the licensed professional who performed the work.
6.5 License requirements. All design, installation, alteration, repair, maintenance, operation, pumping, and inspection activities for SSTS located in the county must be completed by a business licensed by the state under Minn. R. ch. 7083, an appropriately certified qualified employee, or a person exempted under Minn. R. 7083.0700, subps. 1(A), (C), (D), (F), (G), (H) and (I). Individuals exempt from a state SSTS license under Minn. R. 7083.0700, subps. 1(A), (C), (D), (F), (G), (H) and (I) must follow all applicable local, state, and federal requirements. Property owners that employ a business to perform this work must hire a business that is licensed in accordance with Minn. R. ch. 7083.
6.6 Application Review and Determination. If after consideration of the application for a permit, the Health Authority determines that the proposed work complies with provision of this Ordinance, the Health Authority shall issue a written permit granting preliminary approval authorizing initiation of the work as proposed. If the Health Authority determines that the proposed work will not comply with the provisions of this Ordinance, the Health Authority shall deny the permit application. The permit application may be revised or corrected and resubmitted to the Health Authority for reconsideration.
6.7 Variances. Variances to wells and water supply lines require approval from the Minnesota Department of Health. The Health Authority may grant variances to the technical standards and criteria of Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7080 or this Ordinance. However, the Health Authority is prohibited from granting variances to:
A. Minn. R. 7080.2150, subp. 2.
B. Minn. R. 7081.0080, subps. 2 to 5, however, variances may be granted to Minn. R. 7081.0080, subp. 4(D)(1) for the replacement of MSTS serving existing dwellings or other establishments.
C. Flow determinations under Minn. R. 7081.0110 if the deviation reduces the average daily flow from more than 10,000 gallons to 10,000 gallons per day or less.
All requests for a variance shall be requested in writing to the Health Authority on forms approved by the Health Authority.
6.8 Periodically saturated soil disagreements.
A. If a documented discrepancy arises on the depth of the periodically saturated soil between licensed businesses for SSTS design or compliance purposes, all disputing parties must follow the procedure outlined in this subpart.
- The disputing parties must meet at the disputed site in an attempt to resolve differences.
- If the provision does not resolve the differences, then
a. Obtain an opinion from a Minnesota licensed professional soil scientist who is a certified SSTS designer or inspector and who is independent of, and agreed upon by, both parties.
b. If opinions rendered do not resolve the dispute, all initial and follow-up documents and information generated must be submitted to the Health Authority. The Health Authority shall take into consideration all information and opinions rendered and make a final judgment. The Health Authority shall render findings of fact, conclusions of law, and findings setting forth the reasons for any final decisions it renders.
B. If a documented discrepancy arises on the depth of the periodically saturated soil between an SSTS licensed business and the Health Authority for SSTS design or compliance purposes, all disputing parties shall follow the procedure outlined in this item.
- A representative of the Health Authority and the licensed business must meet at the disputed site in an attempt to resolve differences.
- If the provision does not resolve differences, then the SSTS licensed business may obtain an opinion from a Minnesota licensed professional soil scientist who is a certified SSTS designer or inspector and who is independent of, and agreed upon by, both parties.
- If still unresolved, the Health Authority shall take into consideration all information and opinions rendered and make a final judgment. The Health Authority shall render findings of fact, conclusions of law, and findings setting forth the reasons for any final decisions they render.
C. Upon resolution of a dispute, amendments to initial disputed documents containing the resolution shall be made and submitted to the Health Authority and all other parties involved.
SUBDIVISION 7: CONSTRUCTION INSPECTIONS.
7.1 Requirements. Compliance inspections shall be conducted by the Health Authority anytime an ISTS is installed, replaced, altered, repaired, or extended. The installation and construction of the ISTS shall be in accordance with the permit requirements and application design. If any ISTS component is covered before being inspected by the Health Authority, it shall be uncovered if so ordered by the Health Authority. Proposals to alter the permitted construction shall be reviewed and the proposed change accepted by the Health Authority prior to construction. Inspections shall be conducted at least once during the construction that is prior to covering of the ISTS to assure that the system has been constructed per the submitted and approved design.
7.2 Inspector. Compliance inspections for construction, replacement, alteration or repair work on ISTS shall be conducted by the Health Authority.
7.3 Request for Inspection. It shall be the duty of the permittee to notify the Health Authority of the date and time the inspection is requested at least 24 hours (excluding weekend days and holidays) preceding the requested inspection time. If the permitee provides proper notice as described above and the Health Authority does not appear for an inspection within two hours after the time scheduled, the permitee may complete the installation and submit an As-built for the system.
7.4 Access to Premises and Records. Upon the request of the Health Authority, the applicant, owner, permittee or any other person shall allow access at any reasonable time to the affected premises as well as any related records, for the purposes of regulating and enforcing this Ordinance. If entry is refused, the Health Authority shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry. No person shall hinder or otherwise interfere with the Health Authority in the performance of their duties and responsibilities pursuant to the enforcement of this Ordinance. Refusal to allow reasonable access to the Health Authority shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense, whether or not any other specific violations are cited.
7.5 Stop Work Orders. Whenever any ISTS work is being done contrary to the provisions of this Ordinance, the Health Authority may order the work stopped by verbal or written notice served upon the installer or the owner of the land. All installation and construction shall cease and desist until subsequent authorization to proceed is received from the Health Authority.
7.6 As-builts. As-builts shall be submitted to the Health Authority within five (5) working days of completion of the work on the ISTS on forms provided or approved by the Health Authority. The As-built shall include photographs of the system prior to covering and a certified statement that the work was installed in accordance with submitted design and permit conditions and that it was free from defects. If an As-built is not submitted, the Health Authority may require the uncovering of the system for inspection.
7.7 Inspection Reports. A Certificate of Compliance or Notice of Noncompliance shall be prepared by the Health Authority following an inspection or review of As-builts submitted in accordance with Section 7.6. A Certificate of Compliance or Notice of Noncompliance shall include a signed statement by the inspector identifying the type of ISTS inspected and whether the system is in compliance with Minnesota Rules. A copy of the Certificate of Compliance or Notice of Noncompliance shall be provided to the property owner within 30 days of the compliance inspection and a copy kept on file with the Health Authority.
7.71 Certificates of Compliance issued by the Health Authority for new construction and replacement shall be valid for five (5) years from the date of the compliance inspection or As-built certification unless the Health Authority or licensed inspector identifies the system as an Imminent Public Health Threat.
7.72 Notices of Violation may be issued with Notices of Noncompliance when the Health Authority determines that new construction, replacement or repairs are not in compliance with this Ordinance.
SUBDIVISION 8: EXISTING SYSTEMS.
8.1 Requirements. The Health Authority shall require a compliance inspection of an existing system whenever:
A. In designated Shoreland Management or Wellhead Protection Areas, an application for any type of building or land use permit is made.
B. The Health Authority deems a compliance inspection necessary, including, but not limited to, upon receipt of information of a potential ISTS failure or Imminent Health Threat.
C. An additional bedroom on the property is requested. If a request for an additional bedroom is received between November 1 and April 30, the governing municipality may issue a building permit immediately with the contingent requirement that a compliance inspection of the existing ISTS shall be completed by the following June 1 and the applicant submits a certificate of compliance by the following September 30.
D. Any addition or remodel of a licensed food, beverage, or lodging establishment or any Other Establishment where the sewage treatment system’s designed flow may be effected.
8.2 Inspector. Only the Health Authority or licensed Designer I or Inspector, shall conduct an inspection when a compliance inspection is required for an existing ISTS.
8.3. SSTS built before April 1, 1996, outside of areas designated as shoreland areas, wellhead protection areas, or SSTS providing sewage treatment for food, beverage, or lodging establishments must have at least two feet of vertical separation between the bottom of the dispersal system and seasonal saturation or bedrock. The vertical separation measurement shall be made outside the area of system influence in an area of similar soil.
8.31. SSTS built after March 31, 1996, or SSTS located in a shoreland area, wellhead protection area, or serving a food, beverage, or lodging establishment as defined under Minn. R. 7080.1100, subp. 84 must have a three-foot vertical separation between the bottom soil infiltrative surface and the periodically saturated soil and/or bedrock. Unless otherwise determined by the Health Authority, existing systems that have no more than a 15 percent reduction to the minimum required 36 inch separation distance are considered compliant. (i.e., a separation distance no less than 30.6 inches). This reduction is to account for settling of sand or soil, normal variation of separation distance measurements and interpretation of limiting layer characteristics. The vertical separation measurement shall be made outside the area of system influence in an area of similar soil.
8.34 Abandonment of existing systems. Whenever the use of a SSTS or any system component is discontinued as the result of a system repair, modification, replacement or decommissioning following connection to a municipal or private sanitary sewer, or condemnation or demolition of a building served by the system, further use of the system or any system component for any purpose is prohibited.
Abandonment shall be completed in accordance with Minn. R. 7080.2500.
8.4 Inspection Reports. A copy of the Certificate of Compliance or Notice of Noncompliance resulting from a compliance inspection shall be provided to the property owner and the Health Authority within 30 calendar days of inspection.
8.41. Certificates of Compliance issued by a licensed ISTS Inspector for an existing system shall be valid for three (3) years from the date of the compliance inspection unless the Health Authority or licensed inspector identifies the system as an Imminent Public Health Threat.
8.42 A Notice of Noncompliance shall be issued in the following circumstances and the conditions noted in violation of this Ordinance shall be remedied as follows:
A. An ISTS determined to be failing shall be upgraded, replaced, or repaired in accord with Minnesota Rules Chapter 7080 or 7081, within three (3) years, or its use is discontinued. The Health Authority, at its discretion, may grant an extension of an additional two (2) years.
B. An ISTS posing an imminent threat to public health or safety shall be upgraded, replaced or repaired within 10 months. The Health Authority will give consideration to weather conditions in determining compliance dates. If an ISTS is determined to be a public health nuisance by the Health Authority, the Health Authority may order the owner of the ISTS to cease use immediately and not allow use of the ISTS until it is corrected in accordance with the recommendations of the Health Authority.
SUBDIVISION 9: VIOLATIONS.
9.1 Cause to Issue a Notice of Violation. Noncompliance with this Ordinance by an applicant, permittee, installer or other person, as determined by the Health Authority, shall constitute a violation.
9.2 Serving a Notice of Violation. The Health Authority shall serve, in person or by mail, a Notice of Violation upon any person determined to be not in compliance with this Ordinance.
9.3 Contents of a Notice of Violation. A Notice of Violation shall contain the following:
A. A statement documenting the findings of fact determined through inspections, reinspection or investigation.
B. A list of specific violation or violations of this Ordinance.
C. The specific requirements for correction or removal of the specified violation(s).
D. A mandatory time schedule for correction, removal and compliance with this Ordinance.
9.4 Notification of MPCA. The Health Authority shall in accordance with state law notify the MPCA of any inspection, installation, design, construction, alteration or repair of an ISTS by a licensed person or any pumping by a licensed pumper performed in violation of the provisions of this Ordinance.
SUBDIVISION 10: ADDITIONAL STANDARDS FOR HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
10.1 Siting of an ISTS. Notwithstanding any state or federal requirements, the separation distance from an ISTS to a Type 3, 4, 5 or 6 wetland shall be no less than fifty (50) feet.
10.11 SSTS in flood plains. No permit shall be issued for SSTS located in a floodway and wherever possible, located within any part of a floodplain should be avoided. If no option exists to locate a SSTS outside of a floodplain, location within the flood fringe is allowed if the requirements of Minn. R. 7080.2270 and all relevant local requirements are met.
10.12 Class V injection wells. All owners of new or replacement SSTS that are considered to be Class V injection wells as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, title 40, part 144, are required to submit SSTS inventory information to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the MPCA. Owners are also required to identify all Class V injection wells in property transfer disclosures.
10.13 Holding tanks. Holding tanks may be used for the following applications only after it can be shown conclusively by the property owner that a SSTS permitted under this ordinance cannot be feasibly installed:
- As a replacement for an existing failing SSTS;
- For an SSTS that poses an imminent threat to public health or safety; or
- For use with buildings with limited water use.
10.14 Determination of hydraulic loading rate and SSTS sizing. Table IX from Minn. R. 7080.2150, subp. 3(E) entitled Loading Rates for Determining Bottom Absorption Area for Trenches and Seepage Beds for Effluent Treatment Level C and Absorption Ratios for Determining Mound Absorption Areas Using Detail Soil Descriptions and Table IXa from Minn. R. 7080.2150, subp. 3(E) entitled Loading Rates for Determining Bottom Absorption Area for Trenches and Seepage Beds for Effluent Treatment Level C and Absorption Ratios for Determining Mound Absorption Areas Using Percolation Tests and herein adopted by reference shall both be used to size SSTS infiltration areas using the larger sizing factor of the two for SSTS design.
10.2 Maintenance Report. Licensed maintenance businesses must abide by the requirements described in Minn. R. 7083.0770, subp. 2. All written reports required by Minn. R. 7083.0770, subp. 2 must be provided to the homeowner and the Health Authority within 30 days after any maintenance work is performed. SYSTEMS NOT OPERATED UNDER A MANAGEMENT PLAN. Owners of SSTS that are not operated under a management plan or operating permit must inspect treatment tanks and remove solids if needed every three years. Solids must be removed when their accumulation meets the limit described in Minn. R. 7080.2450.
SUBDIVISION 11: ENFORCEMENT.
11.1 Any person, firm, corporation or other entity who violates any of the provisions of this Ordinance or who makes any false statement on a Certificate of Compliance, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment or a fine or both, as defined by law. Each day in violation may constitute a separate violation.
11.2 In the event of a violation of this Ordinance, in addition to other remedies, the County or Municipal Attorney may institute appropriate actions or proceedings to prevent, restrain, correct or abate such violations.
SUBDIVISION 12: FEES.
The Hennepin County Board shall from time to time establish fees for activities undertaken by the Health Authority pursuant to this Ordinance. Fees shall be due and payable at a time and in a manner to be determined by the Health Authority.
SUBDIVISION 13: SEVERABILITY.
If a provision or application of this Ordinance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this Ordinance.
SUBDIVISION 14: EFFECTIVE DATE.
Effective date. This ordinance shall take effect February 25, 2014.
Passed by the Board of County Commissioners of Hennepin County, Minnesota, this 25th day of February, 2014.